Kofi Annan says he is quitting as special envoy to Syria, effective Aug. 31.
He blamed "finger pointing and name calling" within the U.N. Security Council among the reasons for his decision on Thursday to quit as the U.N.-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for Syria.
Annan was the author of a six-point peace plan for Syria which was intended to bring an end to the fighting. He repeatedly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end what has evolved into a full-blown civil war.
But the plan was never fully adhered to by either side and the violence has continued.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Annan deserved "our profound admiration for the selfless way in which he has put his formidable skills and prestige to this most difficult and potentially thankless of assignments."
He said he was in talks with the Arab League to find a successor to "carry on this crucial peacemaking effort."
"I remain convinced that yet more bloodshed is not the answer; each day of it will only make the solution more difficult while bringing deeper suffering to the country and greater peril to the region," he added.
"The world is full of crazy people like me. So don't be surprised if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon can find someone who can do a better job than me," Annan said when asked if he thought someone else would be named to succeed him.
"There may be other plans, other approaches that may work quite effectively," he said, adding that at this stage the focus should still be on a political transition which means "President (Bashar) al-Assad will have to leave sooner or later".
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